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Understanding stress at work and how to manage it
Work-related stress is often inevitable. In fact, you may perceive a certain level of pressure as motivating or beneficial. However, when stress levels become unmanageable, they become a problem that negatively affects productivity and health.
The Workplace Health Report revealed that 76% of employees report moderate-to-high or high-stress levels. 33% report that high levels of stress impact productivity. The top cause of work-related stress is workload (73%), and 54% agree that the perfect amount of stress enables them to thrive.
In this article, we will discuss what stress is, its signs and symptoms, and how it negatively affects workplace productivity. We will also look at several coping mechanisms, including self-care tips, to help you manage stress at work.
What is stress?
According to the World Health Organisation, stress is defined as:
“a state of worry or mental tension caused by a difficult situation. Stress is a natural human response that prompts us to address challenges and threats in our lives. Everyone experiences stress to some degree.”
Symptoms of stress
Stress can cause different symptoms that may significantly affect how you feel and behave physically and mentally. However, recognising when stress is why you think or act differently can be challenging.
Stress may produce physical symptoms such as headaches or dizziness, muscle tension or pain, stomach problems, chest pain or a faster heartbeat, and sexual difficulties. Mental symptoms may include difficulty concentrating and/or making decisions, feeling overwhelmed, constant worry, and forgetfulness, among others.
In addition, it is not uncommon for people to become irritable or snappy, sleep too little or too much, eat too little or too much, avoid certain places or people or drink or smoke more.
Stress in the workplace
Workplace stress can be defined as the harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the job requirements do not match the individual's capabilities, resources, or needs.
Team members who are feeling work-related stress may start acting differently. They may eat more or less than usual, smoke, drink or take drugs to cope or have difficulty sleeping at night.
Talking to someone like your line manager is vital if you feel stressed at work. This will enable them a chance to help you and stop the situation from worsening.
What are the effects of stress in the workplace?
People respond differently to stress. What stresses one person may not stress another. Skills, experience, age, or disability can all negatively impact a worker's ability to cope with stress.
The effects of stress in the workplace may include:
- Higher staff turnover
- More reports of stress
- More sickness absence
- Decreased performance
- More complaints and grievances.
Stress management tips
Whenever you feel stressed at work due to a heavy workload, it is vital to ensure that you do not attempt to accomplish everything at once or concentrate on things you cannot change. Instead, set small targets you can easily achieve. Focus your time and energy on helping yourself feel better.
Regular exercise can help burn off nervous energy. Positive thinking can also improve your health, so consider thinking about the good things in your life. Make a list of three things you are thankful for each day.
You can also think of friends or coworkers who have overcome difficulties and setbacks in the past and let them inspire you to deal with your current problems.
Additionally, avoid alcohol, cigarettes, gambling, or drugs to relieve stress. All of which can negatively impact your mental health.
In recognition of Stress Awareness Month, The Mandatory Training Group offers a 15% discount on all mental health courses to help people stay mentally healthy.
The way we respond to stress, however, makes a big difference to our overall well-being. How we handle stress can profoundly influence the quality of our lives. Talking about the sources of work-related stress and how to cope with them can significantly impact managing stress effectively and easing the pressure on your shoulders.
Click here to see online mental health courses and resources that will help you and your organisation reduce stress in the workplace.
About the Mandatory Training Group
The Mandatory Training Group is one of the leading UK providers of CPDUK-accredited statutory and mandatory training, continuing professional development (CPD) courses, eLearning software and workforce development solutions for all sectors.
By making things simple and designing interactive e-learning content, we can provide meaningful training programs at all levels and enhance the capacity and resilience of individuals and organisations.
Click here to see our wide range of accredited mental health courses and training programmes.
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